For most of the week, I battled a head cold and wasn’t sure whether I’d make it out to Moorhead’s M.B. Johnson Park for today’s Filthy 5K. But after waking up and feeling pretty good, I knew that I had to get out with Riley.
It’s the one time a year he gets to race, and since I hadn’t run since the Chicago Marathon, Riley hasn’t been out running for more than a week. He had plenty of energy – and it was a nearly futile exercise trying to keep him from greeting everyone with a big red dog leap. My plan was to run with a buddy, but with more than 400 people registered, it soon proved to be impossible. We shot around the outer edge of the runners and quickly moved toward the front, Riley tugging on the leash and pulling me along.
It had been a year since I was out at the park, and I had forgotten how beautiful it is along the course.
Even before the race, I already was glad to show up, bumping into old friends and acquaintances that I hadn’t seen in months. It was fun being around such an energetic and friendly crowd, which is why the Filthy 5K is an annual highlight for me. The cross-country race, put on by Fargo’s Beyond Running store, is unique. Teams and costumed runners show up every year, and my only regret was forgetting to wear my Elvis wig and glasses for the race.
Riley ran most of the way on leash, except for the bathroom break he took in the woods near the end. Thankfully, it was out of the way of the other runners and it was clear by then that he wouldn’t be retaining his “first dog” status. He’d have to settle for second. My guess is he didn’t really care, especially since he licked the last of my cup of pudding and crushed cookies afterward. He isn’t lacking treats or fun: he turns 5 on Monday and we went shopping for birthday presents afterward.
One of the coolest parts was meeting a friend of a friend who has a golden retriever, Zeus, from the same breeder, probably making the 2 dogs cousins. Hopefully the 2 will meet up some day, I’ve always hoped Riley would meet another dog from the same lineage. I knew there are some around the Fargo-Moorhead area, and today was an odd but neat chance meeting.
Thanks to everyone who showed up to run in today’s race; it was a blast seeing friends again and watching so many runners have fun out on the course. Happy trails!